Japanese Exchange Zaif Loses up to $60M in Hack

The theft took place several days ago but was not disclosed immediately, incurring losses in Bitcoin (BTC) and possibly also in Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and MonaCoin (MONA).

Zaif, one of the leading Japanese exchanges, has reported a hack that happened a few days ago. Losses in Bitcoin (BTC) amount to around $37 million (5,966 BTC), with additional withdrawals suspected in Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and MonaCoin (MONA), taking the total loss to around $60 million.

https://twitter.com/kaykurokawa/status/1042490523897028609

The exchange specified the date of the hack as September 14, when a hot wallet was used to illegally withdraw funds in BTC, BCH, and MONA. The exact losses in BCH and MONA are still being estimated. The exchange operator discovered the server anomaly on September 17 and confirmed the hack on September 18. The platform is still undergoing security checks.

The Tech Bureau of Zaif apologized for the losses, adding it would seek the assistance of Japan’s Financial Service Agency (FSA). The regulator is performing oversight of exchanges, becoming especially vigilant after a hack of Coincheck led to losses of NEM (XEM) estimated at over $300 million at the time of the breach.

Japanese exchanges have the tentative approval of the FSA although not all of them have completed the required regulatory reports. Zaif is seen as one of the riskier platforms, carrying multiple assets with a total of 15 pairs. Although it is one of the important markets for MONA, most of its volume is generated by the BTC/JPY pair.

Following the news, MONA slid from around $0.94 to $0.86 within hours in Asian daytime trading. It later recovered to around $0.90, making for a total 24-hour loss of 6.9%. BTC prices were not directly affected and rose to $6,414.47 since Zaif carries just 0.63% of total BTC trades.

The Zaif hack is once again tarnishing the image of Japan’s very liberal crypto trading sector, which drove early adoption of BTC and was one of the biggest price drivers a few months ago. Now, the share of Japanese yen trading has fallen from its usual levels of above 50% of all trades to about 12%, as per data from CryptoCompare.